National Lung Cancer Roundtable formed to increase screening for, decrease deaths from, lung cancer

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published March 28, 2017

Key Takeaways

In an effort to help the nation’s efforts in reducing lung cancer mortality, the American Cancer Society has joined with a coalition of leading professional, government, and non-government organizations to form the National Lung Cancer Roundtable. The focus will be to ensure individuals who are at high risk for lung cancer have access to high-quality screening, as well as to secure timely, patient-centered, state-of-the-art care for patients with all stages of lung cancer.

Currently in the United States, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, accounting for one in four deaths from all cancers each year, and killing about 158,000 individuals in 2016.

In addition to traditional strategies focused on reducing tobacco use, screening with low-dose CT has been shown to reduce lung cancer deaths through evidence from the recent National Lung Screening Trial. Modern advances in screening technologies and treatment strategies can be combined to significantly reduce the rates of lung cancer mortality.

"This is a unique moment in time when we can dramatically change the standard for how we approach reducing death from lung cancer," said Richard C. Wender, MD, Chief Cancer Control Officer for the American Cancer Society. "It's no longer just about tobacco control, which remains vitally important. Now, screening also has an essential role to play. Our goal is to reach high-risk individuals and their health care providers to ensure screening is part of their regular health care conversations. Screening is not for everyone, but it must be a priority for those who are at high risk."

Members of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable will include health organizations, such as radiological, surgical, pulmonology, and primary care organizations; advocacy groups; corporate entities and health insurers; and federal and state agencies.

The first 3 years of the project will be funded by AstraZeneca, at $1.5 million.

Members of the roundtable share the optimism about the impact the coalition may have:

Ella A. Kazerooni, MD, Professor of Radiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, and Chair of the roundtable: "As we sit on the precipice of implementing widespread safe, quality, and effective lung cancer screening across the United States for the deadliest cancer, I look forward to shaping a future through this collaboration, where a diagnosis of lung cancer is no longer received as a death sentence, but instead when caught early through screening, becomes a treatable and survivable cancer. To see this in my lifetime is now achievable."

Douglas E. Wood, MD, FACS, FRCSEd, Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA, and Vice-Chair of the roundtable: “The implementation of lung cancer screening offers an enormous opportunity to address health-care disparities in the United States. Lung cancer patients are older, have a lower socioeconomic status, and have worse outcomes in certain racial minorities. Lung cancer screening offers the largest opportunity to improve outcomes for lung cancer patients in a generation. The expertise of the roundtable will help us overcome barriers and improve processes on behalf of our patients.”

Peter Mazzone, MD, MPH, a pulmonologist and Director of the Lung Cancer Program and Lung Cancer Screening Program for the Respiratory Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, and a roundtable Steering Committee member: "This is a great opportunity for specialists and primary providers with an interest in lung cancer to develop programs that will accelerate the implementation of high quality early detection programs across the country."

Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO, Lung Cancer Alliance, and a roundtable Steering Committee member: "We are proud to be a part of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable. Screening those at risk has been a core priority of ours for many years and we view this collaboration with like-minded partners as nothing short of a win-win for our community. Lung cancer screening can save thousands of lives each year, which is why this ongoing dialogue and collaboration on high-priority activities focused on delivering best practices and equitable access to high-quality screening within the continuum of care are not just timely – but essential to reducing lung cancer mortality."

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